Index - here
Monthly Updates - here
Links - here

All newspaper articles and advertisements are from Papers Past - National Library of New Zealand or Trove - National Library of Australia unless otherwise stated .

Photographer's negatives - the most common question I am asked relates to the current location of photographer's negatives - see this post. 

I'm not able to provide any information about photographers other than that on this site.  I'm am also not able to date photographs or assist you in identifying people in photographs you may have.  I am unable to assist in locating the current location of business records of any photographer.

I recommend the Auckland City Library's website for more information about New Zealand photographers -


photography on glass

15 inches x 12 inches
381mm x 350mm 
 Eden George Co. Ltd 
This photograph dates from after June 1890 when Eden George formed the limited liability company known as Eden George Co., Ltd.

 unknown photographer
on a Opal Dry Plate by the Austral Laboratory, Melbourne, Australia.

Tait Bros Lanscape Photographs

Tait Brothers Landscape Photographs
from the Collection of the
Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington

Tait Brothers (Firm). Tait Brothers (Hokitika) fl 1867: Photograph of Bank of Australia. Ref: PA2-1760. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Tait Brothers (Firm). Tait Brothers (Hokitika) fl 1867: Photograph of Bank of New South Wales. 1867. Ref: PA2-1759. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Tait Brothers (Firm). Tait Brothers (Hokitika) fl 1867: Photograph of church with building next door. Ref: PA2-1758. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Tait Brothers (Firm). Tait Brothers (Hokitika) fl 1867: Photograph of Hokitika Wharf. Ref: PA2-1762. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Tait Brothers (Firm). Tait Brothers (Hokitika) fl 1867: Photograph of Dunedin Hotel. Ref: PA2-1757. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Tait Brothers (Firm). Tait Brothers (Hokitika) fl 1867: Photograph of Post Office Hotel, Hokitika. Ref: PA2-1761. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Tait Brothers (Firm). Tait Brothers (Hokitika) fl 1867: Photograph of Temple Chambers (Hokitika?). Ref: PA2-1755. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Tait and Ward

Tait and Ward
John Tait and Alexander Ward

West Coast Times, Issue 9953, 23 October 1894, Page 3

Tait Bros

Tait Brothers
[ John Tait and Alexander Tait] 
established 1865

also see 
Caledonian Portrait Gallery, Dunedin, 1863 to 1866 
Alexander Tait  
John Tait 
succeeded by Tasma Photographic Co. November 1902
Mr Tait, of the well-known firm of Tait Bros., of Dunedin, has opened a photographic gallery in Revell street [Hokitika], opposite the Prince of Wales Opera House. The specimens he exhibits display the very perfection of photographic art. They are finely lined and delicately finished, and testify both to the excellence of his apparatus and his own skill as an artist. Mr Tait has already taken cartes of many of our residents and well known visitors, and the fidelity of the likeness will be at once recognised. 
West Coast Times, Issue 179, 16 April 1866, Page 2

Messrs Tait Brothers, the photographers, have succeeded in taking a panoramic view of the town of Greymouth and the scenery beyond, a copy of which has been sent us. The view is in the best style of photographic delineation, and makes a pretty picture. It is taken from the South Spit, and includes a full view of the town, river, and shipping, with a glimpse of Cobden. The hills behind the gorge stand out in good relief, and the summit of the snow-clad range beyond adds to the pictorial effect. This print cannot fail to be appreciated as a picturesque view of the town, and will, no doubt, find numerous purchasers. 
Grey River Argus, Issue 62, 5 June 1866, Page 2

Grey River Argus, Issue 82, 21 July 1866, Page 3

Street scene outside the Golden Age Hotel, Hokitika, photographed by Tait Brothers in 1867.
Reference Number: PA2-1765 Alexander Turnbull Library

Portrait of Gerhard Mueller & Kerei - Photograph taken by Tait Brothers
Reference Number: PA2-1764 Alexander Turnbull Library


We have to acknowledge the receipt from Messrs Tait Brothers, of Hokitika, of a copy of a photograph of the Steam-tug Dispatch, as she now lies on the spit at Hokitika. The photograph is a good one, and it will probably be interesting to all who are concerned in the stranded vessel. Copies may be obtained from the photographers, and those who wish to inspect one can do so at this office. 
Grey River Argus, Volume III, Issue 141, 6 December 1866, Page 2

Photography appears to be making considerable progress in Hokitika, and the productions of our photographic artists, Messrs Tait Brothers and Mr Perkins, would compare favorably with those of artists in the same line, not only in New Zealand, but in the other colonies. Both have beautifully executed photographic portraits, and capital collections of views. A short time since, Messrs Mundy and Co., Photographic Artists, of Christchurch, travelled from Lyttelton to Hokitika, taking photographs of the most remarkable points of view on the road. The views of Westland scenery - particularly those taken in the Otira gorge - were splendidly executed, and many copies of the whole series have lately been disposed of, on the Art Union principle. 
West Coast Times, Issue 845, 8 June 1868, Page 2

A new photographic establishment has been opened in town by Messrs Tait Bros., of Hokitika. The saloon has been erected over the new shops of Mr Badger, on Mawhera Quay, and has been elegantly and conveniently fitted up, both for the requirements of the profession and for the comfort of visitors. Messrs Tait Bros, were formerly in business here, and then acquired a reputation for the excellence of their artistic productions, which will now materially aid the member of the firm who has determined permanently to reside amongst us.

Grey River Argus, Volume VIII, Issue 571, 14 September 1869, Page 2

 Grey River Argus, Volume IX, Issue 611, 16 December 1869, Page 2
In 1869 Tait Bros. studio was located in Mawhera Quay, Greymouth between the Bank of Australasia and Union Bank of Australia.
Grey River Argus, Volume XI, Issue 929, 19 July 1871, Page 3

THIS DAY. FRIDAY, APRIL 8. At 2 o'clock. Absolute Sale by Auction of Valuable Freeholds. WILLIAM TODD INSTRUCTED by Messrs Tait Bros., will sell by public auction, on the premises —

First — Freehold section 229, Revell street, on which is erected those spacious premises known as Messrs Tait Bros., Photographic Studio, adjoining Mr Price's Butchery Establishment, and opposite the Duke of Edinburgh Theatre, showy plate-glass front and doors, lined with T and G boards, highly finished through-out.

Second — Section 38, Revell-street, on which is erected the buildings known as the Hokitika Hospital Reception Rooms.

Third— Section 1,463, 33 x 166 North Revell-street, with five- roomed house erected thereon, lately in the occupation of Mr G. W. Binney.

Fourth — Two-roomed Cottage behind the Catholic Church, double frontage, let to a highly respectable tenant.

In consequence of the continued ill-health of one of the firm, the above choice properties will be sold Without Reserve — Terms at sale. Titles perfect.

Also, in the early part of the week, the whole of the expensive and rare Photographic Instruments and materials. Full particulars in Saturday's issue, the lots now being catalogued. 

West Coast Times, Issue 1414, 8 April 1870, Page 3

We are glad to learn that Messrs Tait Brothers, photographers, are not going to leave the Coast. Owing to the illness of the partner residing here it had been decided by the firm to sell off their properly, but fortunately for the public, Mr Tait is improved in health, and has decided on remaining. The Messrs. Tait were the first photographers who visited the Coast, in fact arrived with the earliest settlers, and since then they have enjoyed a large share of the public, patronage. This has been deserved, for they have spared no expense in their establishment, and at all times have been the first to introduce improvements in the photographic art. Recently some excellent views have been taken of the magnificent scenery around Hokitika, which are always on view, and we would recommend those who wish to pass a pleasant half hour to visit the studio of these gentlemen. 

West Coast Times, Issue 1415, 9 April 1870, Page 2

Messrs Tait Brothers are at present engaged in preparing for sale copies of a very handsome album, containing views both of town and up-country scenery. The majority of the views are well taken and artistically finished. It is the finest work of the kind yet offered to the Greymouth public, and will, no doubt, secure a large sale. 

Grey River Argus, Volume IX, Issue 690, 21 June 1870, Page 2

We would recommend visitors to town during the Christmas week, if they wish, a treat, to spend an hour in the photographic studio of Messrs Tait Brothers, Mawhera Quay, where they will be able to inspect a series of the finest views that possibly could be executed of scenes throughout Westland and in the Nelson Province. They are thorough gems, and will well repay a visit. 

Grey River Argus, Volume X, Issue 770, 24 December 1870, Page 2

West Coast Times, Issue 2408, 19 June 1873, Page 2
We have been favored with a copy of a photograph of his Excellency the Governor (Sir James Ferguson), who, during his stay in Hokitika, favored Mr Tait with a sitting. The likeness is perfect, and whether considered as a work of art or a memento of the recent visit of Vice-Royalty, is well worthy of inspection, and should find a place in every album.
West Coast Times, Issue 2564, 9 December 1873, Page 2

We understand that Messrs Tait Brothers, of Hokitika and Greymouth, have received authority to announce themselves as photographers to His Excellency the Governor. While in Hokitika, His Excellency had some portraits taken by Messrs Tait Brothers, and, by the portrait which has been presented to us by the firm, the likeness is an excellent one, and a very perfect specimen of the photographic art. We notice that Mr Haigh also advertises himself as photographer to His Excellency, "by special authority." 

West Coast Times, Issue 1732, 20 April 1871, Page 2

One of the firm of Messrs Tait Brothers, of Hokitika and Greymouth, is on a short visit to Charleston, principally with the purpose of taking views of local scenery. 

West Coast Times, Issue 1793, 29 June 1871, Page 2

We have to acknowledge receipt from Messrs Tait Brothers, photographers, of Greymouth and Hokitika, of a card containing portraits of several hundreds, of well-known residents in Hokitika and Greymouth. Every person on the West Coast who wishes to possess one of the best souvenirs of the early times ought to obtain a copy of this wonderful collection of portraits. 

Grey River Argus, Volume XII, Issue 1147, 2 April 1872, Page 2

West Coast Times, Issue 3043, 4 January 1879, Page 3

On Saturday evening, in the shop window of Messrs Tait Brothers, Photographers, the likeness of Butler, who was recently tried in Dunedin, and acquitted, together with the likenesses of Mr and Mrs Dewar who were murdered, were exhibited, and attracted a large number of spectators. 

West Coast Times, Issue 3452, 26 April 1880, Page 2

We have to acknowledge having received from the hands of Messrs Tait Brothers, photographers, an exceedingly well executed photograph of the scene at the christening of the Ross Goldmining Company's water engine, taken immediately previous to the christening. The view comprises the whole of the buildings, the workshop, engine shed, water shed, poppet head and fluming, belonging to the company. From the engine shed to the water wheel, a large display of bunting of all nations is shown, and the water appears in full play at the end of race. In front of the whole, stand a large assemblage of people amongst whom can be easily distinguished each of the directors of the company, tho secretary, and mining manager, together with the various members of the Hokitika and Ross public bodies, and a number of ladies and gentlemen who were present at the ceremony. As a picture, it is one of the best Messrs Tait have ever taken by their instantaneous process. An excellent conception of the over-ground operations of the company is rendered, and many of the likenesses are at once striking and unmistakable. 

West Coast Times, Issue 4253, 6 December 1882, Page 2

Shows Royal George Hotel and surrounding businesses - To the left is a Dispensary with the name Griffiths ACI Family dispensing chemist over the door.
Reference Number: PA2-1756 Alexander Turnbull Library


TAIT, John

John Tait
born 9 December 1836 Caithness, Scotland
died 8 November 1907 at his residence Weld Street, Hokitika
buried Hokitika Cemetery, block 277 plot 5968 

brother of the photographer Alexander Tait
also see  Tait Bros, Hokitika.

1863 to 1866 - Caledonian Portrait Gallery, Dunedin

succeeded by The Tasma Photographic Coy - 1903

West Coast Times, Issue 4502, 29 December 1883, Page 2 
The Rev. William Eugene Gillam was John Tait's brother-in-law.

John Tait was the son of George Tait and Anne Tait nee Mowatt. He emigrated to Victoria, Australia with his family on the ship "Priam" arriving in August 1852, he was then aged about 15 years. He came to New Zealand about 1864 and set up the photographic studio known as the Caledonian Portrait Rooms in Princess Street, Dunedin with his younger brother Alexander Tait. The business was later known as Tait Bros.

Mr. John Tait, J. P., was Mayor of Hokitika in the year 1885–86. He was first elected as a member of the Borough Council of Hokitika in 1869, and served for a number of years. Mr. Tait is well known in Hokitika as the local photographer. He is a trustee of the Hokitika Benevolent Society, and of the Westland Hospital, and a member of the Licensing Committee.

He was one of fifty gentlemen who attended a levee held at the Supreme Court House, Hokitika during the visit in 1871 of the Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen.
West Coast Times, Issue 1749, 10 May 1871, Page 1

Tait, John, 1836-1907. Otira Gorge Hotel.  
Original photographic prints and postcards from the file print collection, Box 18. Ref: PAColl-7581-77. 
Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

West Coast Times, Issue 2884, 22 December 1874, Page 2
This notice continued in the West Coast Times until 20 January 1875

West Coast Times, Issue 3209, 14 July 1879, Page 2

Exhibited at the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879:
Class 415— Photographs of Westland scenery, glaciers, snow-clad hills, Hokitika Local Committee; photographs, John Tait, Hokitika.

West Coast Times, Issue 3337, 9 December 1879, Page 2

Mr Button's lime light entertainment at the Wesleyan Church last evening, was a decided success. There was a crowded attendance, and the pictures were shown with great skill. The Rev. Mr Smith read the descriptions of the views shown, including a scene from Childe Harold, photographed by Mr John Tait. Mr Button is to be congratulated on the success of his panorama.
West Coast Times, Issue 3445, 17 April 1880, Page 2

Our fellow townsman, Mr John Tait, photographer, of Revell street, has produced an excellent selection of views and works of photographic art, which he is sending on on this occasion to the Melbourne exhibition. We have no hesitation in saying that they are some of the best finished pictures that have ever been taken on the Coast. The Wallace Bridge," at the Otira, is certainly a gem "Lake Lonely," Arthur's Pass, 3000 ft above the level of the sea, is also an imposing picture, conveying a truthful sense of the inhospitable region in which it exists. Crawford's sluicing claim, Dillman's Town, is a busy scene of one of the best paying claims on the goldfleld. Two views of Revell street, Hokitika, are well and happily chosen. There are several other very interesting scenes of equal merit. As a study "My Pets" is certainly a splendid production, there is also a highly finished photograph of the late lamented John Lazar.
West Coast Times, Issue 3580, 23 September 1880, Page 2 

Amongst the miscellaneous exhibits for the Court may be mentioned the photographs of West Coast scenery sent by the Hokitika Local Committee also some beautiful photographs of scenery by Mr Hanwell Williams, and by Mr W. H. Perkins, both of Greymouth. Mr John Tait, of Hokitika, sends an admirable large size photo likeness of the late Mr John Lazar, recognised here by many Victorians who were acquainted with the worthy original in "auld lang syne," the same artist also contributes a large frame of well-executed photographs, which are remarkable for their clearness.
West Coast Times, Issue 3642, 6 December 1880, Page 2

Scene in the Otira Gorge , West Coast, circa 1870. Shows the Otira Gorge Hotel with a bush clad hill, and mountains, beyond. Photograph taken by Tait, possibly John Tait.
Tait, John, 1836-1907. Otira Gorge Hotel, and mountains beyond. Original photographic prints and postcards from the file print collection, Box 18. Ref: PAColl-7581-78. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

West Coast Times, Issue 4050, 5 April 1882, Page 2

 West Coast Times, Issue 6546, 16 July 1887, Page 2

 We are glad to learn that Mr John Tait, who has been seriously ill for the last day or two, is now improving in health.
West Coast Times, Issue 6600, 19 September 1887, Page 2

Mr John Tait announces that urgent private business which will probably require his absence from Hokitika precludes the possibility of his contesting the Mayoral election.
West Coast Times, Issue 6619, 25 October 1887, Page 2

 William Braddon, Lieutenant of the Hokitika Fire Brigade
Tait, John (photographer), 1895, Hokitika
Registration number O.022204
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

West Coast Times, Issue 7001, 31 January 1888, Page 4

The photographic art has of late year taken such strides that the older and more laborious processes have become extinct, and are now succeeded by others which have completely revolutionised the art. Mr John Tait, photographer, has recently added largely to his store of these improvements, and is now in a position to not only produce photographs of high artistic merits, but these at the lowest price. All other kinds of art work, such as coloring in oils, water colors and crayons are also undertaken and executed at the studio. 
West Coast Times, Issue 7679, 23 April 1890, Page 2

Mr John Tait, the well-known photographer, has admitted into partnership Mr A. (Alexander) Ward, of Nelson, a recent arrival from the Old Country, who is said to be a most expert photographer, artist and retoucher. The new firm have our best wishes for their future success. 

West Coast Times, Issue 9914, 12 October 1894, Page 2

The residence of Mr John Tait, Weld Street, had a narrow escape from destruction by fire a few nights ago. It seems that Mr Tait was sitting in the music room with Mrs and Miss Tait when he noticed smoke coming from the chimney as if there was some obstruction, or the wind had blown it down. This continued for some time but gradually the quantity decreased and when they retired it was scarceable noticeable.

Before retiring Mr Tait went into the various rooms to see if everything was secure. He had removed his boots and when in the music room was surprised to find the stone hearth was hot whilst the smoke appeared to be again issuing from the chimney.

He unsrewed the mantelpiece and found the volume of smoke had increased. He then obtained assistance from Mr W. A. Thompson and the hearth stone was removed when the flow plate underneath was discovered to be burning, the fire having gained a strong hold. It would not have taken much time before the fire got clear of the stone when it would have attacked the floor and before the family could be aroused the building would probably have been a  mass of flames, if they were not suffocated and burnt to death.

The escape was a most providential one. Had not Mr Tait by chance trod on the hot hearthstone the fire would not have been discovered until the building was in flames. The chimney had been constructed in a faulty manner, permitting the heat from the fire to communicate itself, to the wood work until it became like tinder.

West Coast Times, Issue 10554, 7 July 1897, Page 2

West Coast Times, Issue 10660, 14 December 1897, Page 3

Mr Appleby, the eminent Christchurch photographic artist, who will remain here for a month under arrangement with Mr John Tait, has already made a show of artistic work which is worthy of inspection.
West Coast Times, Issue 10668, 23 December 1897, Page 2

West Coast Times, Volume 27, Issue 11277, 27 April 1899, Page 2

 West Coast Times, Issue 11789, 2 January 1901, Page 2

West Coast Times, 5 January 1901, Page 2

West Coast Times, Issue 12076, 26 November 1901, Page 3

The Tasma Photographic Coy announce that they have taken over the business of Mr John Tait, and have secured the services of one of the leading photographers of Australia as manager. The Coy is making a specialty of black and white, and sepia toned prints, and requests the public to inspect their work, which is of the highest class. A very pretty Xmas card, consisting of eight views of typical West Coast scenery is being turned out at the company's studio.
West Coast Times, Issue 13064, 15 December 1903, Page 2

 West Coast Times, Issue 13075, 16 December 1903, Page 2

Mr. John Tait , J. P., was Mayor of Hokitika in the year 1885–86. He was first elected as a member of the Borough Council in 1869, and served for a number of years. Mr. Tait is well known in Hokitika as the local photographer. He is a trustee of the Hokitika Benevolent Society, and of the Westland Hospital, and a member of the Licensing Committee.
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts] 1906

West Coast Times, Issue 14240, 12 October 1907, Page 2

West Coast Times, Issue 14242, 15 October 1907, Page 2

Another link in the chain of worthy citizens connecting Hokitika's part and present who bore the brunt of the pioneer labours of the Coast, has been removed by the passing away of Mr John Tait, which occurred at his residence, Weld Street, last Friday morning. Some six months ago he retired from active management of his long-established photographic business in Revell Street, since when he has been in failing health, and his death was not unexpected.

The late Mr Tait was born in Caithness, Scotland, in 1836, and on the 9th of next month would have reached the age of 71 years. With his parents, he came to Victoria while still very young, and received his education in Melbourne. He adopted the profession of chemist and druggist, and when fully qualified started in business in Portland, Victoria. Like so many others of the Coast's adventurous pioneers, he caught the gold fever, and came to Dunedin, where, seeing a business opportunity, he gave up thoughts of mining and started a photographic business there.

Shortly afterwards, when the West Coast opened, Mr Tait came to Hokitika, 1865, and started business with his brother, under the style of Tait Bros., and he has resided here constantly ever since. The deceased gentleman always closely identified himself with the progress of the town, and took a very active part in public affairs. He was a member of the majority of our local bodies, serving at various times on the Borough Council, the Hospital Trustees, the School Commissioners, the Hospitals and Charitable Aid Board, and the Benevolent Society. He was elected to the Borough Council in 1869, and after serving for 17 years as Councillor, he was elected Mayor in 1886. In that year Sir William Jervois, the then Governor visited Hokitika and the citizens subsequently presented Mr Tait with a public testimonial in recognition of his service during his term of office.

For many years he held the Commission of the Peace and he was also a very old member of the Masonic order, having been initiated in the Westland Kilwinning Lodge in September, 1867. The foregoing record of public service speaks for itself, though it does not tell of zealous discharge of the office held by Mr Tait, which he filled with the most faithful attention to the duties that were imposed on him. In both his public and private life the late Mr Tait's kindly, unaffected, sincere disposition endeared him to many friends and it is no mere conventionality to say that genuine regret for his demise will be widespread. He leaves a widow and niece (Mrs A. D. Macfarlane) to mourn their loss to whom we tender sincere sympathy in their bereavement.

The funeral of the late Mr Tait took place at 8:00 (or 8:30) yesterday morning when there was a large attendance, a number of country residents being present. The Rev. H. S. Leach conducted the last sad rites at the church and the graveside. Messrs G. Perry, C. Malfr(ey) junr, Newman and Lamps acted as pallbearers. A large number of wreaths and floral emblems covered the coffin. At the conclusion of the service at the church the "Dead March in Saul” was played.

West Coast Times, Issue 14264, 11 November 1907, Page 3

At the conclusion of a special meeting of the Hospital Trustees, held last evening, the President (Mr J, J. Breeze) in the chair, Mr Clifton moved a resolution in reference to the death of their late colleague, Mr John Tait. He moved that a resolution be recorded on the minutes expressing their sense of the great loss the Board had sustained by the death of Mr Tait, and that a letter of condolence and sympathy be forwarded to Mrs Tait in her heavy bereavement. Speaking to the resolution Mr Clifton said that the Westland Hospital owed a great deal to their departed colleague. He was untiring in his devotion to its interests, on the advancement of which he was unsparing of his time and trouble. The President, in seconding the resolution, said that no one gave more time and conscientious attention to his duties as trustee of the Hospital than Mr Tait did, and his death would cause a vacancy on the Board which it would be hard to fill. The motion was supported by all the members and carried.
West Coast Times, Issue 14274, 22 November 1907, Page 2

A painful accident occurred on Tuesday evening to Mrs. J. Tait a well-known and highly-esteemed resident of Hokitika. It appears that Mrs. Tait was being wheeled in an invalid's chair to her home by her son-in-law, Mr. A. D. McFarlane, when, by some means the wheel struck an obstacle and the old lady was thrown heavily to the ground. Her injuries included a broken leg close the ankle. The services of Dr. Borrie were at once secured and it is gratifying to know that the sufferer is bearing up well, despite the fact that her injuries have occasioned her much pain.
Grey River Argus, 28 December 1912, Page 4  

Tait family refer here